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Winyards Nick prehistoric field system

A Scheduled Monument in Dore and Totley, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.3262 / 53°19'34"N

Longitude: -1.6205 / 1°37'13"W

OS Eastings: 425375.832117

OS Northings: 381096.978409

OS Grid: SK253810

Mapcode National: GBR KY3Z.ZC

Mapcode Global: WHCCP.2NMF

Entry Name: Winyards Nick prehistoric field system

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017588

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29800

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Dore and Totley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Dore Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated clearance
banks located in open moorland overlooking the Burbage Valley, to the west of
a fortified natural outcrop known as Carl Wark. The remains demonstrate that
this was an area of prehistoric settlement lying on gently shelving and
relatively well drained south facing land.
The monument consists of at least 20 cairns of medium and large stones
distributed throughout the area, many of which have been placed over large
earthfast boulders. Some appear to have been disturbed in recent times, but
many appear intact. Recent heather burning has exposed many of the cairns and
the land surrounding them, showing that the area was cleared of surface
stones. However, it is likely that other small cairns and possible fragments
of linear clearance banks still lie undiscovered in the more dense areas of
heather growth. The cairns are of varying size, ranging from approximately 2m
to 9m in diameter. Some, especially the larger ones, are ovoid in plan,
typically 11m by 5m. It is thought that the primary function of the cairns was
for agricultural clearance but it is possible that there may have been
secondary human burial deposits placed in some of them, especially the larger
To the south of the cairns and the main cleared areas are the fragmentary
remains of a linear clearance bank comprising small, medium and large
weathered stones. In places, the bank is substantial and impressive and about
0.85m high. The banking is partly covered with turf but much of the earlier
stone construction is exposed. More fragments of linear clearance banking can
be seen to the north west of the southern bank. Cairns, some ovoid in shape,
are also contained within the fragments of banking. The southernmost clearance
bank runs east-west, but those fragments of banking to the north west are
curving and run north-south, indicating that these formed two sides of an
enclosed area at an earlier date or that the cleared area was subdivided into
small fields. The cairns are located mainly at the periphery of the cleared
The combination of the cairnfield, cleared land and the linear clearance banks
shows that that area was used for agricultural purposes and that at least some
of the cleared area was arranged as a field system. The banks would have been
created as the result of loose stone debris being moved to the sides of the
fields which were than probably enclosed by hedges or fencing. Linear
clearance banks are absent from the eastern side of the cleared areas where
the prehistoric features are restricted to cairns only. The most easterly
cairn appears to be formed of one cairn superimposed upon another.
There are several standing stones within the otherwise cleared area. Although
these may have been erected in prehistoric times, they are more likely to be
natural features. The eastern part of the area is crossed by a series of minor
hollow ways which were probably created for moorland access from settlement
sites to the south in the Burbage Valley or for access to quarries on the
moor. Some of these hollow ways may date from the medieval period. A modern
walkers path runs north-south through the monument and in places modern
ditches have been dug to assist drainage.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other
ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in
the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

Prehistoric field systems often consist of concentrations of clearance cairns,
sometimes with linear clearance banks. The features were constructed from
stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its use for
agriculture and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define
field plots. Such field systems were constructed from the Neolithic period
(from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples began during the earlier
Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The
considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of
the sites provide important information on the development of land use and
agricultural practices.
The Winyards Nick field system contains a diversity of features illustrating
the relationship between cleared areas of landscape, a cairnfield and linear
clearance banks.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beamish, H, Smith, L, The National Trust Archaeological Survey: The Longshaw Estate, (1986)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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